ST's Readers Have Their Say
We sincerely hope that you, our devoted readers, have enjoyed the contest editions we’ve produced for more than 30 years. However, we realized it might enhance our contest presentation if we allowed you to also have a say in what constitutes great signage. Thus, we unveiled our inaugural Readers’ Choice competition. The judges of our traditional sign contest – three Cima Network (Chalfont, PA) employees, vice president Keith Denny, technical design director Butch Zawislak and director of environmental branding Ken Olschewske, as well as Jim Klauder, owner of Colmar, PA’s K & S Concepts Group – selected the 20 entries (some earned awards in the traditional contest, some didn’t) for the initial field. We divided them into two, 10-entry surveys (one electric, one non-electric), and the top three vote-earners from each survey advanced to the championship round, from which a single winner was selected.
We were unsure what type of response we would receive, but we were elated the Readers’ Choice competition garnered 6,950 votes (2,774 in the opening rounds, and 4,176 in the championship round). In the interest of full disclosure, we restricted the competition to one vote per computer, but invited participants to engage friends, family and colleagues in the polling.
With 50.6% of the final-round voting, Weitzel Signs’ building sign for Head Frame Spirits, which also won first place in the Commercial Building Signs category, earned the Readers’ Choice grand prize. The runner-up, given the nod from 27.9% of voters, was Great American Signs’ “disclaimer” sign for Bedminster (NJ) Community Garden, which also prevailed in the Commercial Freestanding Sign category. Other finalists included Sawatzky’s Imagination Corp.’s freestanding sign/sculpture for Mighty Moose Ice Cream (second place among Unique Signs); National Signs’ LED-lit building sign for Jerry Built Burgers (which was judged Best of Show); Brooks Signs’ entry monument for the Waterloo (ON) airport (the first-place winner among Electric Monument Signs); and Art Display Co.’s freestanding sign that promotes Silver Spring, MD’s Solaire apartment building (second place in Electric Freestanding Signs). So, although there were some minor disagreements between our judging panel, and our readers and online viewers, those entries that succeeded in the conventional competition resonated with the readers as well.
The other semifinalists selected by the judges included:
• Art Display Co., Flats at Atlas
• ARTfx, Once Upon a Time Toys at Mohegan Sun Casino
• ARTfx, The Simoniz Garage
• Church of Scientology Signshop, Padova, Italy Church
• DeNyse Co., Park 83
• eyecandy Signs, J & R Grimsmo
• GableSigns & Graphics Inc., Luckie’s Liquors
• GableSigns & Graphics Inc., Saint Agnes Hospital
• Integrated Sign/Custom Craftsman Sign, The Track Message Center
• Sawatzky’s Imagination Corp., Lark Rise Horse House
• ShawCraft Signs, Lincoln Highway murals
• Superior Electrical Advertising, Lubeorama
• Trademark Sign Co., Barbacoa
• Trademark Sign Co., Kleiner Park Sign System
At the end of each survey, we left a space for comments. Because signmakers are often an opinionated, outspoken bunch, it’s not surprising that many obliged. In all, we received more than 250 remarks. Here’s a sampling of some of the more memorable ones:
“The airport sign is dynamite; its wing pedestal is very clever. Lubeorama’s use of the oil flowing lends itself to the nature of the business, and I am sure it’s visible from great distances, which should generate traffic. The [Jerry Built Burger] steer says it all. Great extension of corporate identity.”
“I like ice cream, booze, and anything that makes lawyers look funny!”
“Once upon a time, I worked at the Leonard, Stewart, Mountain Consolidated and Original mines [in Butte]. I remember the days when the hard-rock miners would get off their shifts and head directly to the nearest bars. It was all about the spirits!”
“The [Once Upon a Time] Toys sign is a beautiful and inviting fantasy image. The [Mighty] Moose sign is very creative. The [Scientology] Libreria sign is elegant; the shapes and colors invoke a curiosity to know more.”
“I love the [Lincoln] highway murals! They keep history alive. As a child, we used to pull over to read some
of the highway marker-monuments when we traveled. You learn so very much!”
“These signs really demonstrate that there is no limit to creativity, and they clearly put the ‘fun’ in functional.”
“Being in moose country myself, the gangly moose image has been captured in a unique way. Really a hoot! Great job.”
“Each one shows the future of the sign industry.
I just had to pick the one that took the most creative process for a fun adventure – getting ice cream.”
Thanks to all those who provided the entries, and to those who responded. Given this tremendous feedback, we certainly plan on including the Readers’ Choice contest next year – and, presumably, for many years to come.
Weitzel Signs (Butte, MT) earned the top prize in ST’s inaugural Readers’ Choice competition; it garnered slightly more than 50% of votes cast in the championship round. Built for a local distillery, the sign pays tribute to the region’s mining heritage.